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A zero waste restaurant Silo

A restaurant in Brighton minimizing its food waste through different ways. http://www.silobrighton.com

Photo of Shengmin
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Founder's story

Head Chef and owner of Silo, Douglas McMaster spent 6 years cooking in some of the U.K. and Europe’s best restaurants including St. John, Fat Duck, and Noma.

He opened Silo last october after returning from Australia where he had founded another zero-waste restaurant of the same name with the artist and eco-designer, Joost Bakker. Returning to the UK to open his own place gave McMaster the chance to take everything he had learned in Australia and go even further.

Douglas McMaster refers to the restaurant as “a pre-industrial food system that generates zero waste.” Silo isn’t using advanced technology from the fourth industrial revolution. This place is going back to some tried and true techniques much of the world forgets are sustainable and delicious.


How it works?

On their website, Silo states that "Our brewery, old tree creates fermented drinks using foraged and intercepted plants, herbs, vegetables and fruit. We have our own flour mill which turns ancient varieties of wheat into flour the original way, opposing over-processed industrialised bread making techniques. We churn our own butter, make our own almond milk, roll our own oats and support a nose to tail ideology, meaning that if an animal dies for food we will maximise the whole beast, respectfully."

Silo has a small menu which is also a way to help them minimize wastes


"Our furniture and fittings are created from a desire to re-use. We choose up-cycling before recycling. Our furniture is made from materials that would otherwise have been wasted and crafted with innovation to serve function. We have plates formed from plastic bags, tables made from industrial floor tiles, work benches crafted from filing cabinet frames and yes, we use jam jars for glasses, but for us this is no gimmick, they are plentiful, multi functional, hard-wearing and the not insubstantial energy that would have been used to re-cycle them is saved."

"All that isn’t consumed by our customers (or us) is fed into our aerobic digester which can generate up to 60kg of compost in just 24 hours. As our use for it is so minimal due to the way our menu is conceived, we offer its services to our neighbours, both residential and commercial, and that way we can share the benefits of waste reduction across our local community."

Image title

Composting machine in Silo


Future plan

To have different Silo ‘satellite’s’ across Brighton: a Silo urban cheese room that creates all its cheese from milk that would have otherwise been wasted – coffee houses accumulate vast amounts of waste milk, a  bean to bar chocolate shop that has cacao pods delivered by a carbon zero transport (Pirate ship), a wine bar that has no wine bottles – all straight from the barrel, a coffee roastery that is powered by bio-fuel created from coffee waste…  all done with zero waste.

What is a provocation or insight that might inspire others during this challenge?

How might we re-think the "farm to bin" system to reduce the food waste in restaurants?

This post emerged from:

  • A group brainstorm

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Photo of Kate Rushton

Thank you for your post, Shengmin! I like the way the restaurant is using traditional methods and approaches to become zero waste and closed loop. Do you think an idea like this one could be used by Silo to encourage its customers to adopt more of a zero waste lifestyle? - https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/food-waste/research/a-restaurant-sending-patrons-home-with-leftovers-and-recipes  Can you think of anything else the restaurant could do?